Yegor Braylyan. Emigration from Caribbean to Europe (1945 – 1980).

In the article discussed and analyzed the characteristics of migration of citizens Caribbean colonies to European metropolises – Britain, France and the Netherlands. Characterized the socio-economic situation of migrants in Western Europe. Determined foundations of immigration laws 1950 – 1970 – s.

 

Keywords: Caribbean, migration, colonialism, Great Britain, France, Netherlands, The Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1961.

 

Colonialism not only stimulated more than 60 million Europeans to migrate overseas, it also brought millions of Asians, Africans and Amerindians to Europe. In the beginning, many of these immigrants came to Europe as slaves, but in the 20th century immigrants from Africa and Asia served as soldiers and contract labourers in the European armies during the two World Wars. In addition, the wave of decolonisation after World War II stimulated millions of former European colonists as well as people of mixed descent and various colonial minority groups such as the Chinese to migrate to Europe in spite of the fact that the large majority of these migrants had never lived or visited there. In recent decades, migration from the previous colonial world has been dominated by (now largely illegal) labour migrants and asylum seekers.

The volume of migration to Europe increased considerably during the 20th century due to five reasons:

  • First of all, during the two World Wars large numbers of non-Europeans soldiers and temporary labourers worked for the Allies, including troops from French West Africa andBritish India, and indentured labourers from China.
  • The second stimulus to migrate to Europe was decolonization. Millions of Europeans, ex-Europeans, and their local allies from French North Africa, the British colonies in southern Africa and South Asia, the Dutch East Indies, and Portuguese Africa moved to Europe right before, during and after decolonization because the states they were living in ceased to exist.
  • The third stimulus was the rising demand for labour after the end of the Second World War. Britain started this process by allowing citizens from the Commonwealth to work on its territory, followed by France and other countries. In addition, many countries in Europe recruited labourers in African and Asian countries that had not been part of their former overseas empires.
  • The fourth reason for intercontinental migrants to come to Europe was the quest forpolitical asylum. Until then, political asylum had been requested by Europeans escaping from extremist regimes such as revolutionary France, communist Russia or Nazi Germany and Austria. During the Cold War, the few refugees who managed to leave the communist bloc received a warm welcome in West Europe. This tradition enabled a growing number of refugees threatened by extremist regimes, civil wars, and climate change in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to come to Europe.
  • Finally, migrants also came to Europe for cultural and educational reasons, mainly Americans living in Paris, or African, Asian and South American students, as well as football players, mainly from Africa and South America. Each of these five migration streams into Europe will be highlighted separately.

Although Caribbean migration is inscribed within a global pattern and there are some particularities that pertain to the region, this volume also demonstrates that the migratory fi elds between the French Caribbean and France, the British Caribbean and Great Britain, the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands, and the U.S. Caribbean and the United States have some distinct features [1, p.96]. It is important to distinguish Caribbean migrations from “non-independent” territories from Caribbean migrations from formally “independent” territories. The metropoles’ mass-recruitment of colonial labor from the Caribbean during the 1950s and 1960s has four common characteristics.

First, it was an organized labor migration from non-independent territories. Each metropolitan center used the labor available in the Caribbean colonies to satisfy its labor demands during the postwar period. The United States underwent an economic boom because it was the sole industrial economy in the world without competition from other core countries, while the boom of the Western European economies was due to the process of reconstruction after World War II.

Puerto Ricans were among the first colonial groups to be massively recruited to work in the manufacturing and agrarian enterprises of the U.S. Northeast. The formation of the Migration Division within the colonial administration on the island was the institutional mechanism used to massively recruit Puerto Rican labor to the United States, and it served as a model for the rest of the region. West Indians from the British colonies were also recruited to work in the United Kingdom as cheap labor in public services and manufacturing. The British Migration Office in Barbados was an imitation of the Puerto Rican Migration Division Office; similar to the Puerto Rican case, this office recruited labor directly from Barbados to the United Kingdom. In other British colonies, such as Jamaica and Trinidad, institutional mechanisms were in place to foster labor migration, such as job advertisement, social workers, and direct recruitment from the British public administration and private companies. Dutch Caribbean labor from Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles (Curaçao, Aruba, and others) was also recruited to work in the Netherlands [4, p.20]. In Curaçao during the 1960s, social workers were instrumental in the recruitment of labor. Similar to the Puerto Rican case, the French state organized the BUMIDOM (Le Bureau pour le développement des migrations dans les départements d’outre-mer, or Bureau for the Development of Migration in the Overseas Departments ) to recruit labor from Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana to work in the French public administration. The contribution by Monique Milia-Marie-Luce in this volume compares the organized migration from Puerto Rico to the United States with the organized migration from Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana to France. She examines the similarities and differences of the Migration Division Office in Puerto Rico and the BUMIDOM in France, and, based on archival work, shows how the Migration Division Office in Puerto Rico served as a showcase for the whole Caribbean region and, in particular, for the French Overseas Department after World War II. It was through the Caribbean Commission, an organization created by Western colonial powers in the Caribbean to coordinate their policies in the region during the early years of the Cold War, that the migration model used by the United States in Puerto Rico was exported to the rest of the region. Milia-Marie-Luce’s work invites the production of more comparative historical research in Caribbean migration studies. In sum, one common feature of all of these migrations from nonindependent territories is that several state institutional mechanisms were in place to recruit colonial labor or to foster colonial labor migration as a way to supply cheap workers to serve the needs of the metropolitan labor market.

Second, colonial labor migrants from the Caribbean were all legal citizens of the metropole. After World War II, colonial reforms in the Caribbean led by the Caribbean Commission (an international organization of Western powers in the Caribbean) extended metropolitan citizenship rights to the colonies [2, p.30]. This facilitated the massive transfer of labor from the colonies to the metropole. No institutional barriers such as visa procedures or work permits were present to prevent massive labor migration from the Caribbean colonies. Moreover, the legal status of Caribbean colonial laborers as metropolitan citizens gave them access to welfare-state policies and social rights enjoyed by all metropolitan citizens. This supplemented their incomes and helped meet the cost of reproducing their labor force, given their low salaries compared with those of European and Euro-American workers.

Third, colonial migrations from non-independent territories have included a larger representation of the lower classes than that from formally independent territories. Without metropolitan citizenship, members of the lower classes would face many obstacles to migrating. Most of the migrants from independent Caribbean countries, who do not have such citizenship rights, thus come from the most educated and the middle sectors of the working classes.

Fourth, despite their legal status as metropolitan citizens, Caribbean colonial migrants experience racist discrimination, creating what is usually regarded as “second-class citizenship” inside the metropoles. Consequently, the racial/colonial hierarchies that were put in place on a world scale during the European colonial expansion are now reproduced within the metropolitan global cities, which in turn leads to questions about continuities and discontinuities of colonial legacies in the present.

One of the central contemporary Eurocentric myths since World War II has been that, with the demise of colonial administrations in the periphery of the capitalist world economy, we are living in a “postcolonial,” “post-imperial” world . The question is not whether colonialism, understood as the presence of colonial administrations, ended: the answer to that question is obvious, and from that point of view we would be living in a so-called postcolonial world. The question is whether colonial relations of exploitation and domination between Europeans and Euro-Americans and non-European people finished with the end of colonial administrations. The answer to that question is more complex. The global hierarchies put in place during more than four hundred fi fty years (1492 – 1945) of colonial administrations articulating the relationship between European and Euro-American metropoles and non-European peripheries did not disappear with the end of colonial administrations.

Today, despite some anomalous cases, it is obvious that most of the non- European periphery is organized into “independent” states. However, the global hierarchies created during the four hundred fifty years of European colonial expansion, such as the international division of labor (core–periphery), the racial/ethnic hierarchy (European/Euro-American and non-Europeans), the gender hierarchy, the epistemic hierarchy, and the interstate system (military and political power) are still with us, even though colonial administrations have ended.

The UK Caribbean community is far from being homogeneous; it is diverse, including migrants from a number of Caribbean islands (including Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago) and their descendents. Migration from the Caribbean to Britain from the 1940s onwards was primarily undertaken for socioeconomic reasons. Caribbean migrants were attracted by employment in factories and service sector industries and government-sponsored recruitment. One of the first countries to be affected by out-migration was Jamaica. By 1948, some 547 Jamaicans had emigrated to the UK. Migration from the Caribbean to the UK continued during the 1950s, as the UK struggled with a post-war labour shortage [7, p.73].

However, by 1962, migration from the Caribbean to the UK had significantly dropped due to the highly-restrictive legislation on Commonwealth Immigrants which came into effect in that year. Indeed, the number of people actually born in the Caribbean and living in Great Britain peaked in the mid-1960s, so that by 1973 mass migration from the Caribbean to Britain was effectively over.

Post-war migration to Europe must, therefore, be seen in the light of a long migratory history. Between the wars there had been a small community of West Indians resident in Britain comprised mainly of students, intellectuals and radicals (George Padmore, C. L. R. James, Marcus Garvey were all resident in London, along with Dr. Harold Moody). Some West Indian seamen had also ended up residing in some of the port towns such as Cardiff and Liverpool. West Indians had volunteered for service in the First World War and, again, in the Second World War and, despite initial reluctance by the War Office, many had been posted in Britain and seen active duty. The West Indies they returned to after the war was, however, as impoverished as when they left it, despite the efforts of the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund set up, in the wake of the Moyne Commission (appointed to investigate the causes of the major riots in the 1930s) to improve conditions. In 1948, some of these former servicemen, along with other Jamaicans, decided to return to Britain either to re-enlist in the Royal Air Force, or to assist in the post-war reconstruction of Britain, and booked passages on the S. S. Windrush. On 22 June 1948, 492 West Indians (mainly Jamaicans) disembarked in Tilbury (London) and were temporarily housed in a former air-raid shelter in Clapham, South London. The nearest employment exchange was in Brixton, and it was from there that they found work, and housing.

The fact that migration from the former colonies was not primarily aimed at filling the vacancies on the labour market of the host country, but could increase unemployment and housing shortages, made the British and Dutch governments decide to put an end to it. In 1962, the British government made a residence permit obligatory for those entering the country with a British passport. The Dutch government took a similar step in 1975 as part of a package granting independence to the former Caribbean colony of Suriname. The French, Portuguese, and Spanish governments also demanded residence permits from migrants coming from their former colonies after independence [5, p.163].

During the 1950s, the immigration of non-European labourers became more substantial, and the United Kingdom was the first country to tap labour resources from other continents. Between 1950 and 1960, the number of immigrants from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean in Great Britain increased from 20,000 to 200,000. At first, the West Indians dominated the immigration from outside Europe, mostly settling in the larger urban areas of the British Isles and mainly working in low-income jobs in hospitals, public transport, the postal services, and education. These jobs may have paid very moderate salaries, but they provided a high degree of security and allowed for a regular stream of money orders sent to the relatives at home. The island of Montserrat is an extreme example: about 50 per cent of its inhabitants worked elsewhere, and the money sent home made up about a quarter of the island’s income. The larger countries in the Caribbean showed lower rates of labour emigration: Jamaica 9.2 per cent, Barbados 8.1 per cent, Trinidad 1.2 per cent, and Guyana1.3 per cent. [9, p.203]

The West Indians in Great Britain, however, were soon outnumbered by the South Asians. Since government restrictions on immigration were put in place in the middle of the 1960s, the rapid growth of the South Asian community was caused by the immigration of family members, and in part by the high birth rates, particularly among the Muslim immigrant communities. Most of the immigrants came from the Punjab, an area which was divided between India, Pakistan, and Sikkim. War, deportation, and flight were widespread in the years following partition and made people migrate overseas. Another 20 per cent originated in the coastal areas of Gujarat, and another 10 per cent came from Sylhet in Bangladesh. In addition, the Asian community also comprised Tamils from Sri Lanka as well as well-educated Indians.

West Indian migration to Britain was slow at first, but by the early 1950s was gathering momentum. The 1952 McArran-Walter Act in the United States once again cut off the United States as a migrant destination. This, coupled with increasing opportunities for employment in the United Kingdom, helped divert the migration flow to Britain [3, p. 16].

The Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1961 which aimed to limit migrants from the ‘new’ commonwealth, led to a surge in migration as West Indians attempted to enter Britain before the controls came into force. There was a similar surge before the 1965 Immigration Act. In 1965, however, the United States relaxed its restrictions on migration from the Caribbean and, along with Canada, North America returned on stream as the West Indian migrant destination of choice.

The majority of Caribbean peoples who migrated to Britain arrived, therefore, between 1948 and 1965 [8, p.54]. The first to arrive were Jamaicans, and they formed the majority of Caribbean migrants, (57 per cent in 1961), although in the 1950s sizeable numbers of Barbadians and Guianese arrived, along with smaller numbers from the Eastern Caribbean. Women migrated, along with men, and most were relatively young – between eighteen and thirty years of age. Those with children chose, for the most part, to leave them initially with kin in the Caribbean, returning remittances to help support them and the wider family back home. Most of those who came intended their stay to be temporary, and planned to return within three to five years. In 1961, the Caribbean born population was estimated at 172,877. By 1971, the Caribbean population was thought to be at 548,000. The rapid growth in the population was accounted for by their children born in Britain (an estimated 244,000) and those ‘sent for’ to be reunited with a parent. The 2001 census revealed that the current ‘black Caribbean’ population stands at 565, 876, of whom the vast majority (79%) have been born in the UK. The declining numbers of those born in the Caribbean reflected the death and aging of its population – but also, significantly, a trend to return to the West Indies. While the Caribbean population fell from 548,000 in 1971 to 495,000 in 1986, the Caribbean born population declined from 330,000 in 1966 to 230,000 in 1986, most of whom had returned to the West Indies. At the same time, the relatively small growth in the black Caribbean population has been more than matched by that of the mixed race population, who comprised approximately 677,117 of the UK population (1.2 per cent), of whom the majority were the children of white and Caribbean parentage.

This basic data necessarily hides important aspects of West Indian migration and important characteristics of that migrant experience. That most of the early migrants assumed their stay would be temporary accorded with models of migration familiar to them. Many of the first generation were the grandchildren of Panama migrants, where the pattern of return or re-migration was well established. Others had already migrated before, either to the United States as part of an agricultural quota in place during the wartime years, or to work on US bases or in the Dutch oil fields in the Caribbean. Many came with the ambition of seeing the ‘Mother Country,’ as they had been taught to believe Great Britain represented. They arrived at a time when Britain itself was engaged in post-war reconstruction of its housing, industrial and transport infra-structure and building up the National Health Service. Britain needed labour.

Reluctant at first to encourage labour from the Commonwealth, Britain finally conceded and from the 1950s promoted herself as a source of employment, actively recruiting in certain key industries. The Barbados government also actively encouraged and facilitated its population to secure training and employment in Britain.

What the migrants found in Britain was sharply at variance with what they had been led to expect. Far from welcoming the migrants, British society revealed itself to be racist and hypocritical. West Indians found themselves discriminated against in employment, housing, leisure, education and in church. They were attacked by gangs of teddy boys and found a police force indifferent to their safety. Riots in Nottingham and in Notting Hill, London, in 1958 and a growing white resentment against West Indian migrants, and those from the Indian sub-continent, led to the passing of the Commonwealth Immigration Act in 1961- the attempt by the then Conservative government to restrict entry and appease popular opinion – followed by further acts in 1965 and 1968. In that year, the Conservative MP, Enoch Powell prophesised in a now notorious speech that should immigration continue, ‘rivers of blood’ would flow through British cities.

With access to housing, education and other public and private facilities characterised by prejudice (it was not uncommon for landlords to advertise ‘No blacks. No Irish. No Dogs’ on their vacant properties), and with a public clamour against ‘coloured’ immigrants, West Indians sought their own solutions. In the Caribbean ‘meeting turns,’ ‘sous-sous’ ‘partnering’ were all names for the same simple credit circle. Utilising these as a means of raising capital (no bank or building society was prepared to offer loans to West Indians), they bought properties in the inner cities, renting out rooms to other West Indians; they set up Saturday schools to make good the educational deficit which their children were experiencing; they established markets to import and sell their own food; they set up their own churches for worship along with a host of other self-help organisations and they established book shops and publishing houses. They also lobbied hard against racial discrimination and in 1965 the first Race Relations Act was passed, followed by tougher legislation in 1968, and 1976.

Above all, West Indians found solace in their families. Although historically and contemporaneously vilified for their ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘irregular’ patterns (Caribbean families in the Caribbean and overseas have been, and remain, characterised by high levels of cohabitation, high levels of single parent mother headed households and relatively low levels of marriage ), Caribbean families have emerged as enduring and inclusive institutions which provide robust support for kin and maintain contact across the generations and across the oceans. Although the Caribbean community in Britain is now in its third and even fourth generations, the links with the Caribbean remain vibrant, even for those of mixed-race ethnicity who more often self-identify as ‘Black British’. The trend to return has renewed links with the Caribbean for a new generation, while many British born Caribbeans are themselves now ‘returning’ to live in the Caribbean.

Yet the legacy of early West Indian experience in Britain lingers. While discrimination is illegal, there are real issues of social exclusion. Second generation African-Caribbeans are more likely to suffer from mental illness; black and mixed race children are more like to be taken into local authority care, and for longer periods than their white counterparts, and black British nationals accounted for eleven per cent of the sentenced population in prison (by far the largest ethnic minority) and thirteen per cent of the remand population. In terms of education, African-Caribbean boys, particularly, are failing to achieve minimum education targets, the result partly of ‘low teacher expectations… and] inadequate levels of positive teacher attention, unfair behaviour management practices, dispropor-tionately high levels of exclusion and an inappropriate curriculum.’ The 1999 Macpherson Report (which detailed the failures of the Metropolitan Police in their investigation into the murder of the young Jamaican-heritage student, Stephen Lawrence) identified what it termed ‘institutional racism’ which, it claimed, permeated London’s Metropolitan Police Service and inhibited the delivery of a fair and equitable service. Certainly, discrimination and racism were one of the central causes of schizophrenia identified by Dinesh Bhugra, and may well be a factor in explaining the alienation of some black youth and the appeal of violent gang culture with its allure of masculinity, status and drugs.

The issues of social exclusion should not crowd out the contributions which Caribbean migrants have given to Britain and to the Caribbean. They were critical to the post-war reconstruction of Britain and in the development of the National Health Service. They have achieved important distinctions in a range of arenas: central government (the current Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, is a migrant from St. Kitts, and there are many Caribbeans who sit in both Houses of Parliament), local government, in the judiciary, in professions and businesses, as well as in sports, music and the arts. Moreover, given that Caribbeans have the largest number of exogamous partnerships of all ethnic minorities, they may be seen to be integrated. The Caribbean orientation of many migrants and their families has had important repercussions for the region. The return of many African Caribbeans has led to relatively high levels of investment in the Caribbean in terms of home ownership, pensions and remittances. Here, the link between diaspora and development is well documented.

Despite the impoverished state which the Caribbean inherited at independence from the British, and the centuries of neglect and abuse which preceded it, the role of migrants in their – and our – development is critical. That the region has produced, in a short period, several Nobel prize winners, and has continued to enrich the culture of Britain (and the world) through its literature, music and carnival and its values, tolerance and industry is a cause for celebration.

Looking at the numerous movements of migration from the European colonies to the countries governing them, we can observe a variety of cultural processes and alterations which did not only change and shape the individuals who left their homes in order to adapt to life in a foreign country, but also the foreign countries themselves. Migrants were not only victims of political or economic circumstances; they were also agents of cultural transfer who brought elements of their country’s traditions to their new surroundings. One of the most prominent signs of their influence is the internationalization of European food culture in the 20th century. Nevertheless, it must also be remarked that non-European migrants’ wishes to keep up their traditions have frequently been regarded with mistrust or even hostility in their host country.

Over the years, most research on black people of Caribbean descent in the UK has focused on a range of issues specific to this group and the subsequent responses from the black community and government. Early research on first- and second-generation Caribbean immigrants during the 1970s and 1980s concentrated on the integration of second-generation „black youth‟ with particular reference to young blacks and employment, education, family life, racism and social problems. The socio-economic experience of young blacks in relation to policing, political alienation and homelessness were also areas of interest in early research [8, p.175].

The Dutch attitude towards immigration and migrants has come a long way since the end of the Second World War. For a long time, the Dutch did not consider their country as one of immigration, despite large postcolonial and labour arrivals. On the contrary, the government regarded the Netherlands as „overpopulated‟ and widely encouraged emigration. Until 1983, the government denied that there were immigrant communities in the Netherlands; the term „immigrant‟ itself was avoided, and other words were used to describe them.

Similarly to France and the United Kingdom, post-colonial ties and labour recruitment agreements determined migration patterns. Colonial migration was present before the Second World War but intensified in the post-war context, especially when colonial natives were granted Dutch citizenship under the 1954 Dutch Nationality law. In practice, migration flows were highly heterogeneous. As Van Amersfoort and van Niekerk argue, they had “little in common except that they were genetically linked to the colonial past”. Four main groups arrived from the colonies: from the East Indies, the two main ones were the „repatriates‟ and the Moluccans; from the West Indies arrived migrants from Surinam (Dutch Guiana) and from the Netherlands Antilles.

The „repatriates‟ integrated relatively easily compared to other groups; yet, this success contrasts with the failed integration of the Moluccans and of West Indies‟ migrants.

Immigrant groups were considered as temporary migrants by the Dutch government, and apart from the „repatriates‟, no extensive resources were dedicated to their integration. On the contrary, the government fostered respect for their distinct cultural identities, even granting them the right to be educated in their own language in view of their return. The Dutch Government shared the same conception towards the Gastarbeiders (guestworkers), who arrived from the 1960s onwards, mainly from Turkey and Morocco with whom the Netherlands signed recruitment agreements in 1964 and 1969 respectively.

My most recent work concentrates on the cultural and demographic phenomenon of Caribbean postwar migration that took thousands of West Indians to the former colonial capitals of Paris and London between 1945 and 1980, and the ways in which these new inhabitants and their descendants came to represent their simultaneously separate but parallel experiences in literature and film. Indeed, there are now more than half a million persons in each of these cities claiming West Indian birth or background, and most recent national census figures estimate Caribbean communities to be virtually 1% of the population in both cases. What is of equal interest here is that many second- and third-generation immigrants to these capitals define themselves as West Indian (more specifically, say, Guadeloupean, Martinican, Antiguan, or Jamaican), despite of their metropolitan place of birth; largely speaking, these identificatory strategies tend to function as markers of lack of integration into or identification with the nation and its social whole. For the purposes of this lecture, though, I would like to concentrate specifically on the situation of the Antillean citizens of the DOM (départements d’outre-mer), or French overseas departments, citizens of France by law but subject to otherness and exclusion stemming from their ethnic difference from the mainland majority [5,p.84]. The experience of these geographic and cultural migrants highlights the décalage between modern-day France’s vaunted universalist claims and its quotidian realities of racial stereotyping and exclusion of its ‘others,’ patterns that arguably find their roots in the turn to the center and in earlier racial hierarchies that served to ground French colonialism and the mission civilisatrice.

While migration toward the metropole was put in motion with the advent of labor shortages around World War I, it was later catalyzed in the first instance by the advent of the departmentalization law in 1946, whose integrationist policies made full citizens of all the inhabitants of the quatre vieilles colonies, and in the second by the resulting right of unimpeded access to the metropole which ultimately led to the establishment of BUMIDOM, or the Bureau pour le développement des migrations dans les départements d’outre-mer, whose goal was to furnish a state-organized and -controlled labor pool. The results of these migratory moments were both transgressive and transformative. While postwar immigration into France was largely driven by massive labor shortages, as it was in most of the rest of Europe, the paradox of the DOMs is that their populations were not foreigners seeking entry, but nationals moving from the periphery to the center of the nation-state. Specifically for the DOMS, however, between its inauguration in April 1963 and its dissolution eighteen years later, BUMIDOM funneled over 160,000 workers from Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Réunion onto the French mainland, many of whom were trying to escape rising unemployment in the French periphery. For example, a 1982 comparison between France and its Caribbean DOMs shows that while metropolitan French unemployment stood at 8.4%, in the Caribbean the rate stood at 12.8%. Largely through BUMIDOM’s efforts, over 150,000 French West Indians were resident in France by 1970, having largely arrived within the space of a single decade. By the time this organization’s work came to an end in 1982, one person in four born in the West Indies was living in France; by 1990, the total number of people in France claiming West Indian descent had risen to a remarkable 400,000, of whom 2/3 were born on the Caribbean and 1/3 on the mainland. With this metropolitan Caribbean population now approaching the figure of three-quarters of a million, it is already more than 1% of the total French population, and its influence is transforming the landscape of French cultural identity in a myriad of ways.

 

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